Two Republican governors said Sunday that the new Congress needs to get to work to rein in spending while respecting states' rights.

"They set forth a whole number of things they want to get done for the people; they now need to get to work," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said on "Fox News Sunday."

He advocated that Republican lawmakers clearly articulate their position, then "go out and make your case."

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That, Christie said, is how his Democratic legislature ended up voting for budget cuts after polling and constituent feedback showed that state residents preferred spending cuts to tax hikes.

"The Republicans should be prepared to articulate their argument and win the argument," he said.


Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), who said he'll be deciding in a few months whether he'll run for president, said on Fox that "you've got to draw some lines in the sand."

For him, that means not raising the debt ceiling.

Pawlenty said that to avoid going into default lawmakers could send the president a piece of legislation to sequence the payment of the country's bills.

"You can't have spending on auto pilot," he said. "That auto pilot feature has to be shut off.

"That's why we called for budget reform in our state as well," he added, noting the Minnesota showdown on spending was worth it.

Christie advocated that the federal government "take the strings off the states" to let them decide about the level of benefits to be distributed.

"It's time to make the tough decisions," he said, noting that even liberal governors such as Andrew Cuomo in New York and Jerry Brown in California were tackling their deficits with plans for pay freezes and budget cuts.

"Eventually the day of reckoning comes," Christie said. "It's not just a Republican thing anymore; all the governors are facing problems."